I met with Tina Hambly yesterday morning, the owner and founder and chief designer at Valentina Shoes; hip girls, happy feet. I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, but when she walked in I felt instantly happy by her presence. Maybe it was her casual and down to earth style? I expected someone more corporate perhaps? Maybe it was her sweet blue sweater with the giant red heart woven into it that seemed the perfect sweater for a woman who had followed her heart to a career. Whatever it was, I felt quite satisfied sitting outside at a local café with my latte in front of me and Tina across from me – you know that satisfaction that comes from the feeling that you’re about to learn something cool?
Tina worked in the corporate world for nearly two decades as an event coordinator, and still does actually, when she decided to return to her design and fashion roots. With her then 6 year old daughter serving as her muse, she started Valentina Shoes; hip girls, happy feet. (And can I add, on a personal note, the thing that stood out the most to me and that I appreciated almost as much as the styles themselves, is that there is not a heel in sight on these shoes for young girls!)
On October 24th, Tina will be speaking at the Texas Conference for Women on the subject of pursuing your passions, going big, following your dreams. She’ll be addressing the young women at the conference made up of high school juniors and seniors. She’s excited about meeting with them and hopes to share with them the idea of finding your passion, examining them and then taking active steps to truly follow them in a big, true way. I can only imagine how great it would be to hear that message at so young an age from someone who was living proof that it is the way to happiness and success.
She told me the story of making the leap into her own company and how she called up a man in Houston who had a similar company and she asked him for help. Without hesitation he shared ideas, lessons learned, and insights that were priceless to Tina in the creation of Valentina, “He spent two hours on the phone with me, having never met me before, sharing incredible information.” From that Tina learned that sharing is key. “Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Find the people who can help, find a mentor, and don’t be afraid to ask them for information.” Now when people ask Tina, she is ready, willing and able to share with others what she learned in a sort of Pay-It-Forward method.
Tina makes it a point to slow things down at home with her husband and two children. “We have dinner together just about every night. It’s a sacred time for me, a time when we can all connect with each other and get a glimpse into each other’s day.” She also tries to keep weekends for family and when that doesn’t’ always work out, Tina is super intentional around carving out specific blocks of time rather than having business bleed into family life all weekend long.”
With a growing business and a family to tend to, Tina is also careful to tend to her own proverbial cup – filling it with solo walks and time spent pouring over stacks of design magazines where she not only gets her relaxation but also design ideas for new products. “It’s crucial for me to get some solo time. It’s a time when I can check in with myself and also stir up new ideas.”
Tina is excited about attending the Texas Conference for Women for the first time and excited about sharing ideas with the young women in attendance. She’s also looking forward to listening to the many other amazing speakers and said her only dilemma really is deciding which talks to attend. If you are on the fence about attending the conference, just one glimpse at the list of speakers should spur you on to registering for this day full of insights, inspirations and big beautiful ideas. Whether you already know your passion, or are pondering just what it might be, surely this day surrounded by amazing professional women will be just the thing you need to take it to the next level and an opportunity to follow Tina’s advice to “get active in your passion.”